That kind of crept up on me.
It was 5 years ago today that the first post appeared on look4trains.com. I've made it a tradition to wish myself happy birthday each year, and I figured why not do it at least one more time? Here's 2009, 2010, 2011, and 2012.
In the past I have done a bit of a round up in each of these posts, looking back over the past 12 months. There's less to look back on this year than in the past. My posting rate has dropped way off, partially compliments of a job change and move which greatly reduced my railfanning time along with resulting in the destruction of my previous layout. I've had to start over, and at times it has been slow. Matter of fact, the 9 posts I have made this year are fewer than lots of months in past years.
I still enjoy sharing occasional stories in this venue, although it's become more common to share photos on flickr or facebook, which reduces the amount of blogging material I have.
Here are some fun facts about look4trains.com. As of the time of this writing, blogger says there have been almost 74,000 pageviews. The all time most popular post was "What is ATCS?" from 2009, which is responsible for nearly 1000 of those views all by itself. The second most popular post features a photo of some great railfanning friends at the Granite City Train Show: "When They Say the World's Greatest Hobby". The total post count is up to somewhere around 420.
This hobby continues to be about people more than anything. One of the great blessings of the past year for me has been getting to know more railfans and modelers. I really feel that I have been welcomed to the Twin Ports area and can't overstate how much I appreciate that welcome. I certainly miss Wadena and the Staples Sub but the guys around here make up for it. On the plus side, hopefully I can round up a bunch of fans to bring to Verndale this year and add some Duluth/Superior flavor to that annual get-together.
A new job has greatly reduced the amount of time I spend along the tracks, although I do get to see the occasional lake boat out the office window now. I never realized quite how lucky I was to have the chance to combine work with pleasure, but now I do. It does make the time I get to spend along the tracks now even more special.
On the modeling front, progress has been slow but steady. It will take years before I get to the point I was when I tore down my last layout (I'm a slow worker) but the journey is enjoyable and that's the important part.
Finally, I am still blessed with a Mrs. L4T who is willing to humor my desire to "train hunt", sometimes by accompanying me, and other times by letting me run off on the spur of the moment and stay out longer than I told her I would. For her patience and understanding I will always be thankful.
PS: I am still taking some train pictures. One from last Saturday:
And here's one from today, spotted on the way home from work and shot after a short detour down the interstate: